Friday, 7 March 2014

The End of an Era

My grandfather passed away last summer just before his eighty fifth birthday. I miss him and think about him often. I credit him for so many wonderful things that are a part of my life now; my love of farm life and the country, my love of animals (specifically horses, ponies and now chickens) and the importance he ingrained into us of family and togetherness. I spent a huge part of my childhood at his small farm playing with kittens, dogs, chicks, baby lambs and sheep. I learned the daily routines ("chores") and most importantly I learned to ride and interact with horses. He always had ponies and horses but raised two Shetlands for me and my other horse crazy cousin to enjoy.

My Shetland :)
Since this is the internet and my blog is technically published for any eyes to see I won't get into the intricacies of the will or what is happening in that respect however, I will say that everything physical (house, farm and "contents" of the house) were left to one person. My grandfather never updated his will after making it in the 80s and it therefore does not include his grandchildren. Thus far, I have been given one piece from "my" room at his house: an antique clock. After getting it home I had it appraised to learn it was made between 1880-1910. It is absolutely beautiful and timeless and despite the appraisers "poor" evaluation of its current "value" (about $250) I am totally enamoured with it. (To be fair he said antique clocks are hard to sell in this day and age which has brought down their value.) I love having it with me in my home and I love that it will be a part of my life. In my opinion, that is what is so beautiful and wonderful about antiques and why they should be shared; they carry memories and time throughout our lives.

This weekend we are going up to (hopefully) select a few more meaningful items from the house before it transitions from being my grandfather's house to the full time residence of the inheritor. It's probably the last time I will ever set foot in the house again after spending every holiday and many, many weekends of my life there. It's a great house. Unlike our family farmhouse which was given to another family member, the house is nothing large, grand or impressive. It's a cute-as-a-button brick bungalow my grandparents built to house their family. And it did just that. Everything about it is cozy and reminds me of family. It was always comfortable and welcoming. I hope to capture these elements in my home.

The person who is moving into the house essentially wants to keep most of the valuable and sentimental goods but is open to us taking things he is not interested in. Everything about an "estate" is unfortunate and difficult. Why does it seem these things always happen? When my grandmother on the other side of the family passed away that family used multi-coloured stickers and took turns selecting items that meant the most to them selling the rest in a garage sale. It was an equitable solution that worked for everyone and I highly recommend it if you're in this situation.  I would love to gain a few pieces of china, pink depression glass, odds and ends like book ends, a small white book case and a standardbred horse print that hung in "my" room. My grandfather loved to drive and often bought SBs from the amish community. I don't love the idea of breaking up the house but if things are going to be given to the thrift store I'd like to have an option to incorporate them into my own home, being a devote thrifter myself.

I will miss the house and I hope it never fades from my memory. It was the start of a lot of amazing things in my life. The more I "get into" country living the more I feel like I continue on my grandfather's legacy. I am so thankful for him and can't imagine where I would be today without his influence on my life.

Have you been here? How did your family do things? Why are these things always so hard?

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